With it being the start of the academic year and lots of people going to uni for the first time or planning to go, I thought I’d go through a few things a lot of people are never told about uni.
1. Your student finance normally doesn’t cover your accommodation, never mind your living costs.
Plan wisely guys. Just because your student loan drops doesn’t mean you can be a baller. Once that money is gone, it’s gone! Manage your money wisely and if that means getting a part time job or getting financial help from your parents then do it. Most businesses start to hire around this time for christmas anyway so even if its just temporary, its better to have a bit of spare cash for a rainy day. Don’t be one of the many with 1p in their account, waiting for their next loan to drop!
2. Uni can be a VERY lonely place.
It doesn’t matter whether you stay at home, move out alone or live with people. Not everyone finds it easy making friends and sometimes you just get used to your own company. If you struggle making friends then join a society. Every university will hold a society fair once or twice a year. Whether it’s for tea drinkers (yeah, that’s a thing), wanna-be business owners or people looking to learn a new skill, there’s something for nearly everyone. If you don’t find a society that suites you then why not create your own?! Again, most universities will support anyone wanting to do so. It’s also something great to add to your CV. Sometimes, the loneliness becomes quite serious in terms of mental health. A lot of people go through hard times and find it hard to cope, there are people to speak to through the university that offer counseling services, all private and free! If you don’t want to go see anyone then there’s always the Samaritans.
3. First (and sometimes second) year may not count towards your degree classification but you never know what your uni may decide to do so put your all in from day one.
There are many unforeseen circumstances that can occur at any time. If you treat every year like it’s your final then sometimes the universities can use previous grades as your finals. Not only that, you need a good work ethic. You won’t be at uni forever, learn how to work hard now and it won’t come as a shock when you actually get into the working world!
4. If something is going on in your life that’s making things hard for you at uni, speak to someone!
I’ve already touched on a couple of points above but I can’t stress how important it is to talk to people. No matter how hard times are, there’s always someone out there who cares. I didn’t handle a lot of my final year very well.
I lost what I thought was the love of my life, my dad was battling cancer and my mum moved countries to be with him. At first I just threw myself into work and as time went on I eventually started to talk to my friends and family about how hard I was finding things. There are people in my life I will treasure forever because they simply made a effort. No matter how small, may it be a text just to check in or forcing me out for food, they did more for me than I could ever thank them for. I should have spoken to my tutors earlier as it would have made a difference with my final grade but I got through it in the end.
If it wasn’t for the people closest to me, I literally wouldn’t have achieved as much as I did. Not only can I walk into supermarkets knowing I came up with the recipes for certain products on the shelves but I also got into one of the top universities in the world! Trust me, there are moments I didn’t even think I could finish uni, never mind get to where I am now.
5. Don’t wish away your uni life.
When people tell you how quickly your 3/4 years will go, they’re not joking! I’m going to sound like such an old lady now but your uni years are the best years of your life, however, finding a good work life balance is crucial. There’s no point studying 24/7 or partying 24/7. Employers look for way more than someones academics nowadays but you’ll also get the best stories and bond with new people from your nights out! Not all of my uni friends are friends for life but I have certainly met my friends for life whilst at uni whether it was at work or through socialising. Some of the people you socialise or network with can also open many many doors for you!
For those of you in uni now, good luck and have fun! For those looking to apply, good luck and embrace your next chapter with open arms!